- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

September 9, 2015

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

23rd Wednesday in Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Peter Claver
Colossians 3: 1-11; Luke 6: 20-26


It is interesting to consider the passage from the Letter to the Colossians side-by-side with the Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. In this world, we are not hapless victims. We stand before society as people who have been called by Christ to manifest the first fruits of the re-creation. The Beatitudes are about choices. Saint Paul reminded his readers that everyone has the opportunity for salvation by choosing to cooperate with the grace of Christ. The risen Lord has encountered us, the sinners we are and has invited us to allow Him to make us whole.


We must be willing to make ourselves empty so as to be filled up with the abundant blessings of the Spirit. Our ethnic background, our personality makeup, our compulsions and addictions are no excuse. Everyone is offered the grace to follow Christ. Each one of us can choose charity over greed, can choose a spiritual path over a material path, choose love over anger, and can choose truth over deceit. In order to enjoy eternal life, we must walk on the path of the Commandments with our hearts expanded with the in-expressible delight of love.


Knowing that we are the objects of God’s loving care, we can find peace of mind and soul when confronted with poverty, hunger, sorrow and persecution. Saint Paul puts it quite beautifully in his second letter to the Corinthians: “We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18). The children of the Kingdom are blessed because their hearts are set free to run on the path of God’s commandments. They delight in the Lord because they are rooted in Him. We behold a reflection of Christ in the faces of those who depend on God and have placed their trust in Provident Care for them.


The obedience of faith and total dependence on the love of Christ are at the root of our transformation. We know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Paul tells us: “Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty he might make you rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlarges our hearts to receive His abundant blessings. May we choose to live in loving devotion and total surrender to His will until that day when we shall see the Lord face-to-face.